Friday, June 24, 2016

Ramadan Meal Ideas #3

Welcome back to Breaking Fasts With Style. I am your host, the friendly neighborhood librarian at the Islamic Resource Center. Are you ready to try out some tasty side dishes today?

First up is the Soft Cheese Salad with Tomato and Basil Topped with Asparagus from the World Vegetarian cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey. We will follow this up with a potato s from The Iraqi Cookbook by Lamees Ibrahim.

Soft Cheese Salad with Tomato and Basil Topped with Asparagus
Serves 4
Prep time: 30 min. Cook time

1 scallion
18 fresh asparagus spears
9 oz fresh paneer or mozzarella (the fresher the better)
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced about 1/3-inch big
1/3 large green bell pepper, diced about 1/3-inch big
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
2 teaspoons oriental sesame oil
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut into fine strips (chiffonade)

Directions: Cut the scallion into 2" segments, stack, and slice into very fine rounds. Put them into a small bowl of ice water, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Drain, spread in a dish towel and wring out.

Cut off (or snap off) the tough ends of the asparagus spears and discard. Peel the lower half of the spears, then cut into 1/3-inch segments, leaving the heads whole.

In a bowl, crumple the cheese into small pieces. Add the scallion, tomato, bell pepper, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well and set aside.

Put the vegetable oil in a nonstick medium frying pan or saute pan and set over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the asparagus and stir once or twice. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water to the pan and mix. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the asparagus is just tender. Uncover and add the sesame oil; stir to mix. turn the heat up to high and cook until all the liquid evaporates. Remove from the heat.

Toss the basil with the cheese mixture. Mix well. The asparagus can either be arranged on top of the cheese mixture or mixed into the cheese. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Note: This recipe looks like it has a lot going on, but really it comes down to preparing the scallion, cooking the asparagus, and mixing everything together. It is quite simple to make and is a nice cheery dish to go alongside your main creation or to be served as the main course.

Potato Salad (Zalatat Potaita)
Serves 2-3

4-5 medium or 8-10 small new potatoes
2-3 medium tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
lemon juice
olive oil
                                               salt and black pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until soft and allow them to cool. Peel and cut the cooled potatoes into cubes and set aside.

Chop the tomatoes, peppers and cucumber into cubes.

Mix all cut ingredients together. Season with salt and black pepper. Add in the chopped parsley, lemon juice and olive oil.

Stay tuned for more recipes as the month continues. This cookbook and others like it are available from our bookstore at the IRC. We return you now to your regularly scheduled library blog.

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